Why Do Dogs Run in Circles?

Many pets, particularly dogs, have a tendency to run in circles or chase their tails. In most cases, this is a very normal behaviour and not a cause for concern. However, if you notice them circling obsessively, it could be a sign that there’s something wrong. This blog looks at the different reasons why your pet might run in circles, including ‘zoomies’ and tail chasing, as well as when your dog’s circling might warrant a visit to the vet.

Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

Has your dog ever moved frantically around your yard or living room in circles at high speed? Many dog guardians affectionately call this burst of activity ‘zoomies’.

Officially known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs), these episodes are a normal and common behaviour in dogs. Although more common in puppies and young dogs, zoomies are exhibited by canines of all ages.

We aren’t entirely sure why dogs perform this action, but it tends to be around times of stress or arousal.

Can Zoomies Be Dangerous for My Dog?

Zoomies are generally safe, but it’s crucial to ensure your dog is in a secure environment where they won’t accidentally harm themselves or others. Avoid areas with obstacles or slippery floors to prevent accidents.

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Now, let’s turn our attention to tail chasing. Watching your dog spinning in pursuit of their tail is a scene that might make you laugh! Occasional tail chasing, especially in puppies, can be a part of normal play.

But sometimes, this behaviour might be more than a comic display. When a dog chases their tail obsessively, it might point to issues like parasites, skin infections, or discomfort in the anal glands. If your dog is frequently biting or licking their tail area, it’s a sign that something might be irritating them, and you should make an appointment with your vet.

Why Else Do Animals Run in Circles?

In certain cases, compulsive circling can be a sign of neurological problems. Conditions such as brain tumours, head injuries, or neurodegenerative diseases may manifest through this repetitive behaviour.

Dogs might also run in circles due to anxiety or boredom. This behaviour can be a coping mechanism for dogs dealing with stress or lack sufficient mental and physical stimulation.

How Can I Help My Dog with Anxiety-related Circling?

Providing a calm and stable environment, ensuring regular physical exercise, engaging them in mental stimulation activities, and in some cases, seeking advice from a qualified behaviourist, can significantly help dogs address their anxiety.

When Is Running in Circles Cause for Concern?

While it’s often a normal part of dog behaviour, running in circles can sometimes signal an underlying issue.

Look for signs like constant or obsessive circling, physical imbalance, distress during circling, or other unusual symptoms.

These signs could indicate various health issues, from ear infections to more serious neurological conditions. If any of these symptoms accompany your dog’s circling behaviour, or if it represents a sudden change in their usual behaviour, it’s important to consult a veterinarian.

Wrapping Up

In summary, dogs running in circles, whether due to the exhilarating zoomies or tail chasing, can range from a normal display of canine exuberance to an indication of health concerns. Understanding the nuances of this behaviour is key to ensuring your dog’s wellbeing and happiness. Observing your dog and seeking veterinary advice when needed is the best approach to deciphering this intriguing aspect of dog behaviour.

Struggling with your dog’s behaviour? Discover how Renee can elevate your wisdom and transform your relationship by visiting www.rplusdogs.com

Renee Rhoades MSc, dog behaviour expert for Animed Direct
About Renee Rhoades, MSc

Renee Rhoades, MSc, is a distinguished authority in canine behaviour and welfare, recognised for her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of both dogs and humans. The founder of R+Dogs, a virtual dog behaviour consultancy, Renee offers cutting-edge private coaching and online courses to dog guardians worldwide. Renee specialises in transforming fearful and high-energy dogs, addressing aggression, reactivity, generalised anxiety and hyperactivity.

Beyond client-focused coaching, Renee is also the co-host of DogLogical, a podcast dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of our dogs. In addition, she extends her expertise by mentoring fellow dog professionals, contributing to the growth and development of the industry.

Struggling with your dog’s behaviour? Discover how Renee can elevate your wisdom and transform your relationship by visiting www.rplusdogs.com